Officials prepare for Gulf oil on the Jersey Shore
Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
New Jersey officials are making plans just in case any oil from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico reaches the Garden State.
Department of Environment Protection commissioner Bob Martin says if any of that oil were to make it to New Jersey, it probably wouldn't get here before November.
“It certainly is unlikely that the oil will ever come and hit the New Jersey shores,” says Martin. “There's a possibility that it will get into the loop current around Florida and then potentially come up the coast of Florida. Then it would go out in the Gulf Stream so it would be moving away from New Jersey.”
As a precaution Martin says plans are being made to use booms and skimmers if needed to protect Jersey shores and waters. He says an additional team will monitor any impact from the oil spill on fish and birds that migrate along the state's coast.
John McKeon (D-West Orange) is the chairman of the Assembly environment committee. He says if tar balls from that spill were to reach Jersey beaches, it would be devastating.
“$40 billon of our economy is built around tourism and the fishing industries,” says McKeon. “Thus, as devastating as this has now been from the Gulf states, we want to be prepared to keep that same eventuality from happening here.”